ASSEMBLY, No. 2892
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED MAY 1, 1997
By Assemblywoman CRECCO and Assemblyman FELICE
An Act concerning testing pregnant women for HIV infection and amending P.L.1995, c.174.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 2 of P.L.1995, c.174 (C.26:5C-16) is amended to read as follows:
2. a. A physician or other health care practitioner who is the primary caregiver for a pregnant woman or a woman who seeks treatment within four weeks of giving birth, shall, in accordance with guidelines developed by the commissioner, test the woman for HIV infection and shall provide the woman with information about HIV and AIDS, and also inform the woman of the benefits of being tested for HIV [and present her with the option of being tested] and of the importance of treatment for HIV infection during and after pregnancy. The woman shall, on a form and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner, acknowledge receipt of the information [and indicate her preference regarding testing. A woman shall not be denied appropriate prenatal or other medical care because she decides not to be tested for HIV].
b. The commissioner shall establish guidelines regarding notification to a woman whose test result is positive, and to provide, to the maximum extent possible, for counseling about the significance of the test result.
c. Information about a woman which is obtained pursuant to this section shall be held confidential in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1989, c.303 (C.26:5C-5 et seq.).
(cf: P.L.1995, c.174, s.2)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill amends P.L.1995, c.174 (C.26:5C-16) by requiring that pregnant women be tested for HIV infection. The bill also deletes language in P.L.1995, c.174 that gave pregnant women the option of being tested for HIV infection and required them to indicate their preference regarding testing, since this bill mandates the HIV testing.
The bill further requires the physician or other health care practitioner to inform the pregnant woman of the importance of treatment for HIV infection during and after pregnancy. The risk of HIV infection to newborns can be significantly reduced when the mother receives zidovudine (AZT) therapy. According to preliminary results of a trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, zidovudine (AZT) therapy has reduced by two-thirds the risk of transmission of the virus from HIV-infected pregnant women to their babies.
Requires HIV testing of pregnant women.